The Donor Is Always Right — Right?
Second: I called a donor to set up a visit and then needed to change it to a conference call instead. The donor was upset that we couldn’t meet face to face and hung up. At least that’s what I thought. What to do?
I decided not to offend the donor any more, and I let the call go. To my total surprise, the next morning I had a message from the donor that went something like this: “Margaret, I’m calling because I didn’t want you to think I hung up on you. I was rushing, and the battery went dead in my phone.”
I called the donor back; acknowledged that I thought he had hung up on me; told him I didn’t call again because I didn’t want to offend him (he appreciated that); and we had a great conversation. We’re best phone buddies now.
My mentor probably does realize the valuable lesson he taught me years ago. No matter how much I might want to scream, “that’s not right,” I know to listen to the donor and affirm the donor. He taught me to thank and apologize and thank again — because the donor IS always right.
Margaret Guellich, CFRE, is senior director of development at American Life League. mguellich@ALL.org.